Shufflin' | Florida shuffler Gilbert Stannard still going strong at age 99

December 31, 2013 

Gilbert Stannard was born Dec. 1, 1914, in Saybrook. Conn. In 1920, Gib's family moved to Clinton, Conn., in a hay wagon pulled by a team of oxen.

Gib had his own calf that matured into a milk cow, the first of a dairy herd which by the 1940s had grown to 16, a very respectable herd for New England. To aid the war effort and control inflation, the Office of Price Administration froze the price of milk. With the rising price of feed and other complications, Gib reluctantly sold his cows and secured employment as a maintenance man at the local elementary school. Soon rising to Director of Maintenance, his salary was higher for a while than that of the principal. By the time of his retirement, he was in charge of all maintenance in four schools.

Today, Mr. Gilbert Stannard is the oldest living graduate of Morgan High School. His class of 32 students graduated in June of 1935.

The Stannards raised six children. The oldest three were boys; the next three were girls. All the sons went to college, and all the daughters became housewives. The oldest son served in the U.S. Navy, and the youngest son, Jerry, served in the U.S. Army in Germany several years later. A very tough loss was the death years ago of the oldest son.

After retirement, Gib brought his wife to Lake Wales to help cure the winter blues. It helped greatly, and they later lived in the Lake Region Trailer Park near Haines City in the Central District of the Florida Shuffleboard Association.

Gib, who first discovered shuffling at Lake Wales, gives Al Harbourt lots of credit for promoting the sport and influencing Lake Region to add four more shuffle courts.

Gib has been blessed with personal good health, never hospitalized except once for a tonsillectomy. His shuffle career included practice at Haines City with the well-known Past President of the Florida Shuffleboard Association Richard "Buck" Buchanan, Gib's neighbor at Lake Region.

About 25 years ago, Gib built his own court at his home in Connecticut, where he and his youngest son, Jerry, then a school teacher, played and played. Gib regrets that so few in Connecticut play regularly. He believes shuffleboard and walking are good for personal health and would recommend both to everybody.

By 2009, Gib was playing competitively in the Central District, winning first place in his first tournament. He played in the District Amateur Masters in 2009 and 2010 and in the State Amateur Masters in 2011. Readers in the Southwest Coast District may be surprised to read here that in another Florida district, one can play more than once in the District Amateur Masters, and that a district can hold a Masters Tournament for State Ams and another for Pros. Districts have latitude under FL Rules.

Gib has greatly enjoyed sailing on Long Island Sound, fishing and shuffleboard over the years. A sadness endured about five years ago, was the death of his wife, to whom he was happily married for 75 years. She suffered her last five years from symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, leaving Gib the only surviving grandparent and great-grandparent to more than he can count.

Only a couple of years ago Gib and Jerry Stannard moved from Lake Region to Golf Lakes, ostensibly to be nearer more shuffleboard activity. Jerry, a member of the FL Shuffleboard Hall of Fame, has been a leader in club and district play and is the only member of the FSA Hall of Fame this author ever saw pinned by his own father, who gets the credit for introducing Jerry himself to the shuffleboard excellence many years ago.

Readers may be encouraged to discover that in this very 2013-14 season, Gib Stannard at age 99, has placed fourth in the Main Event once and 4th in Consolation once in this, the Southwest Coast District. Let no one else younger than 99, tell me they are too old for this sport.

Tournament results

• Fl P-13, Dec. 26 at Bradenton Shuffle Club, Open M/L Doubles. Men Main: 1. Jim Miller-Jerry Everett, 2. Ben Coy-Dave Minnich, 3. Ron Nurnberger-Dick Whitaker, 4. Jerry Stannard. Consolation: 2. Bill Batdorff-Terry Howell, 3.. Bob Kendall-Ira Snook. Ladies Main: 1. Joan McCurdy-Joyce Marquis, 2. Judy Taylor, 3. Terri Smith, 4. Adriana Cramton-Shirley McCullough. Consolation: 2. Marlene Coburn-Marilyn Everett, 3. Alice Barlow-Pat Tomko, 4. Carol Lumsden-Sue Minnich.

• Also Dec. 26 at Bradenton State Tournament for Amateurs, FL A-09, Any Amateurs/Any Doubles. Main: 1. Lloyd Schmidt-Terry Wright, 2. Don Gray-Bill Reinbolt, 3. Mike Keeping-Keith Petty. Consolation: 1. Phil Krick-Don Webster, 2. Doug Smith-Doris Mularz, 3. Wolter Bootsma-Adam Letz.

Future tournaments

• Thursday at Palmetto, FL A-10 State Tournament Any Amateurs/Any Doubles, 75 points. A golden opportunity for move-up points at a local venue for State Ams and/or District Ams. No lunch will be served.

• Also Thursday, FL P-14A at Sebring, FL P-14B at Clearwater, Open M/L Doubles 75 points.

• Jan. 6, FL P-15A at St. Cloud, P-15B at Lee County, Open M/L Doubles 75 points. Also Jan. 6 at Melbourne Tropical Haven, FL A-11 82nd FL State Sponsored Doubles, Any Ams/Any Doubles. Note: FL Red-Line State Sponsored Singles and Doubles, additional points in Main only 8-6-5-3, rather than usual 5-4-3-2. Consolation unchanged 2-1-1-0.

Notables

• SWCD Open Board Meeting at Bradenton Shuffle Club, 1 p.m. Saturday. Any may speak. Board and club president or delegate vote.

• Starting Thursday: All State and SWCCD tournaments registration $6.

Happy Shuffling in the new year!

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